January 12, 2016

In Defense of Vontaze

Steelers 18, Bengals 16.

Easily the most painful loss I've ever been associated with, which is really saying something when you consider that I'm both a life-long Bengals fan and a die-hard UVA sports fan.

In the end, I guess the NFL got what they wanted, and their "made" team advanced while a new villain and public enemy #1 has emerged.

This might surprise you, but Vontaze Burfict is my favorite football player.  He plays a violent game with aggression.  He makes great plays.  He impacts games.  He gives a previously spineless team some balls.

Did he ultimately cost the Bengals the game on Saturday night?  Yes.

Is he a thug, a low-life, a scumbag, a goon?  Maybe he's some of those things in spurts, but no more than any of the Steelers... who are routinely lauded for their toughness, swagger, and grit.  These are just words, tossed around clumsily by fans and media who struggle to reconcile the fact that they love a violent sport for being exactly what it is -- violent.

Anyway, the main points I'd like to make are:

1) Tez is public enemy #1 this week.  However, I challenge fans of 31 other NFL teams to tell me that they wouldn't want him on their squad.  There are three types of people in this world: People who would gladly welcome Vontaze Burfict onto their teams, liars, and losers.

2) Maybe Vontaze Burfict cost us the game on Saturday night, but without him the Bengals would have lost 29-0.  So with him, as usual, you get a double-edged sword.

3) He shouldn't have hit Antonio Brown like that, but every non-Steelers fan on planet earth should be happy to see someone finally standing up and railing against the constant flow of bullshit that team pumps out onto the field.

4) Vontaze's hit on Antonio Brown was dirty, but was a mere drop in the bucket compared to the headhunting that Ryan Shazier put on Gio Bernard earlier in the game.  An unflagged illegal hit, I should add, and one that removed one of the Bengals most explosive offensive weapons from the game.

5) The best analogy I can muster comes from A Christmas Story.  After years of being bullied, Ralphie snaps, gets Scut Farkas down... but then can't stop punching him and cussing at him.

Anyway, fuck it.  I'm done with sports for a while.  Need to calm down and decompress.


In the meantime, I hope Virginia Basketball can find a way to add a little Tez to their games tonight and moving forward.  We're playing soft and losing games; tonight against Miami is a must-win, lest the spiral begins in earnest.  Time to show some real grit and tenacity, time to start playing with some urgency, time for a little aggression, time for some junkyard dog to come out of the Cavaliers.

It worked for the Bengals... kinda.


  1. I couldn't give a shit about the National Felony League, All gangsters IMHO. But I will opine on your Cavs, totally agree. If Tobey el al can't get pumped for this game and actually be competitive in the 1st half then it will feel like watching a late Gillen or early Leitao team. Ugh,

    1. Why are you talking about the U.S. Congress on a sports blog?

  2. Sorry but I disagree, Vontaze is dirty, maybe no worse than the Steelers, but dirty nonetheless. He took that shot at Antonio simply because he thought he could get away with it, not to mention the knee he hit Big Ben with after the sack. There's a difference between being an aggressive football player and being an aggressive headhunter

  3. http://www.cincyjungle.com/2016/1/13/10749822/why-you-want-vontaze-burfict-and-adam-jones-on-your-team

  4. The whole game was one of the wildest I've ever seen, from BOTH sides. Three points on the Steelers dirty play in this game: 1) Coach Mike Munchak with the personal foul on the sidelines for yanking Reggie Nelson's arm. I've never seen anything like that in my 30 years of watching NFL football. 2) Ryan Shazier's helmet-to-helmet hit on Gio Bernard, which looked highly illegal to these eyes, was not only unflagged but was coda'd by a disgusting midfield dance by Shazier while Gio was lying prone and being attended by several medical personnel. 3) Joey Porter's bizarre on field incitement of Adam Jones in the last personal foul of the game. What was he doing on the field? How was that not a flag?

    If it were not for the Bengals late game implosion that caused their defeat, the narrative coming out of this game would have been decidedly more anti-Steelers. Both teams were wrong, but the Steelers were more wrong. With the Pittsburgh staff and players involved in all this tomfoolery, they must have implicit approval of their actions from head coach Mike Tomlin. Oh yeah, remember that sideline trip thing from a couple of years ago? Man, I really hate the Steelers.

    And now some perspective from a Broncos fan: thanks, Bengals. You probably knocked out Antonio Brown from this weekend's divisional playoff game. And Big Ben will play, but he'll likely be way less effective than normal with his gimpy wing.

    This all feels like karmic retribution for the nasty late hit by Pittsburgh's Cody Wallace on Broncos' saftey David Bruton back in their Week 15 game. Here's a link to a gif of the play in case you didn't catch it:

    This was the same week that Odell Beckham Jr went insane on Carolina's Josh Norman. If that hadn't happened, I bet we all would've heard more about Cody Wallace. That play I linked was unflagged by the way. Dude wasn't suspended, but instead fined $23,152. David Bruton's leg was broken on the dirty play, and his season is over. The rest of the team remembers though. Expect fireworks this week.

  5. Pacman jones and burfict are thugs. Pittsburghs defense was lousy, and shaziers hit maybe have been dirty but look at burficts history. He's a scumbag.

  6. Kendall is soooo salty. My goodness

    Did Gio Bernard wake up yet?